A delegation of Hyderabad Forum for Peace and Communal Harmony, led by Siasat Urdu Daily Editor Zahed Ali Khan on Thursday met Governor ESL Narasimhan seeking his intervention to ensure that heritage monuments including Charminar were not exploited by communal elements.
The delegation requested the Governor to intervene and take measures to ensure that the historical monument of Charminar and other forms of common heritage of the citizens of this city from being exploited by communal elements to drive a wedge between the two communities. "We urge you to restore the traditional communal peace and harmony of the city," the delegation urged in its memorandum.
"Charminar is not an Islamic structure, belonging to Muslims alone. It is our common heritage and a historical monument that belongs to the entire mankind. It is a symbol of pride of the people and identify of the city of Hyderabad," the Forum members said.
"The temple in Charminar precints is illegal. Old photographs and other recorded evidence shows it came up a few decades ago, due to the mischievous agenda of communalising the Hyderabad," the Forum said.
The Forum, comprising leading personalities including historians, professors, doctors, judges, lawyers, politicians, social activists and media professionals, said that the events of the past two weeks over the extension of the temple in the precincts of Charminar have vitiated the peaceful atmosphere in the city. "As the political developments in the country and State have gained momentum and in view of the forthcoming general elections in 2014, competitive communalism has once again reared its ugly head. Once again, the Old City of Hyderabad is being turned into a cauldron of differences by creating a controversy in the name of the temple in Charminar precincts," the Forum said.
The Forum also complained of police excesses by way of imposing prohibitory orders. It alleged that police created a curfew-like situation while terrorising people and disrupting the normal life in the city. "These developments are threatening the peaceful co-existence of two communities and endangering the "ganga-jamni" tradition of the Hyderabad," it said.
"The government, municipal authorities and the departments concerned have reneged from their responsibility in preventing the illegal construction such as the construction in Charminar precincts and many others in the city," the Forum alleged. To gain political milage many political and communal forces are busy in raising religious structures by encroaching upon the government lands. The Forum members demanded that such structures be removed as they could disturb communal harmony.
"It is the responsibility and duty of the Archaeological Department to safeguard heritage structures such as Charminar from encroachments and misuse for anti-people activities. It is the duty of all citizens to ensure that we protect our heritage and legacy for the future generations," the Forum said.
After giving patient hearing of about 45 minutes to delegates of the Forum, the Governor had reportedly said since the issue involved is sentimental, concerned communities had to be taken into confidence. He appreciated the efforts of the forum and said such awareness is required at all levels of the society. Stressing the need for maintaining communal harmony, he said peace committees have to be formed at area level.
The Governor reportedly assured that no comprise would be made in maintaining communal harmony and protecting the heritage. In a city where simple incidents have flared up into communal riots, this time people have shown great amount of responsibility, which shows the level of awareness among the people of Hyderabad, the Governor said.
The delegation comprised of former MP P Madhu, TDP leader Ali Masquathi, Former IAS Hasanuddin Ahmed, Moulana Syed Taraq Quadri, Capt Panduranga Reddy (Voice of Telangana), Senior Advocate Osman Shaheed, Advocate Syed Kareemuddin Shakeel, Siasat News Editor Amer Ali Khan, social activist Abdul Khader Quadri, Mubasshiruddin Khurram of Siasat Daily, Srinivas Reddy of CPM, Osman Al-Hajri of Wakf Protection Society, Maj SG Mohiuddin Quadri of Help Hyderabad, social activist Ghiyasuddin Akber, Khaja Abdul Hameed of HMTV, Ms. Anuradha and Ashraf Ali CPM.